During a Feb. 16 hearing about the president's proposed budget in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., pressed Energy Secretary Steven Chu on the urgency to extend the expiring tax credits for wind energy and other renewable energy sources.
Udall urged Chu to talk about how a failure to extend the production tax credit (PTC) would impact the future of U.S. energy jobs, as well as to discuss the administration's efforts to ensure the nation leads in the global clean energy economy.
Udall has been joined by many others, including Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., in fighting for the PTC. Udall's testimony prompted other senators to pick up the thread and reiterate to Chu the importance of extending the tax credit.
‘We're at a really critical juncture here in regards to the PTC," Udall told Chu. "It's been very instrumental in expansion and deployment [of renewable energy] around our country. Every state has a stake in this, whether [or not] the states are producing wind in any significant amounts, because of the supply chain that's developed.
"This very important policy expires at the end of 2012," he continued. "Would you speak to the ramifications if we don't extend the PTC in the time frame we have left?’
Chu responded that jobs would certainly be affected if the tax credits are not extended. Wind and other renewable energy companies will locate factories – and create jobs – in countries where there's a market for the energy so they can sell their products at home.
‘A clean energy standard, a production tax credit – those are mechanisms that can stimulate private-sector investment … that can stimulate manufacturing in the United States,’ Chu answered. ‘You talk to any supplier of wind – they'd rather set up a supply chain in the country where these things (turbines and other equipment) are being sold – this is heavy stuff.Â We need to spur this market. We're either going to be buying or selling – and I'd rather be selling.’
A video of Udall's testimony is available here.